the begging to be
seen, corrected, confessed, forgiven, celebrated, heard, protected, cleansed.
disfigured, undiscovered, forgotten, lonely, hurting, rotting, hidden, stolen.
rhythmically to every
morning, home, friend, neighbor, child, field, highway, mountain.
broke, destroyed, severed, tore, distorted, invaded, belied, abandoned.
heart, mind, city, neighborhood, country, family, room, soul.
Recently a colleague referenced this book by Pat Schneider:
After doing my usual thing of sampling it on Kindle, I purchased it. (NOTE: “Usual thing on Kindle” means if I’m enticed to highlight while reading the sample, it’s more than likely an eventual purchase.)
At first I wasn’t enticed, but then came these two lines from the same paragraph:
When I achieve true waiting, true listening, something happens that I experience as a gift…If I am made in the image of the creator, then I am myself a creator, and my acts of creating participate in mystery.
That first line grabbed my attention. It aligns with several messages I’ve heard recently, the most recent while driving to Orlando yesterday. (NOTE: To radio DJs, your words carry power.) I’ve lived most of my life feeling like I’ve taken on a burden when someone shares intimate stories with me. I’ve been eased and encouraged lately to see these sharings as gifts, completely altering how I listen and experience the moment.
And that second line, it’s a different way to say what I’ve often told others. We are creators. We are creative. We were created to create. Opening our minds to that truth and expanding our definition of creativity frees us to “participate in mystery.”
16 more chapters. What light awaits?
Here’s one other memorable story from David Platt’s book Something Needs To Change. While visiting a home housing girls who had been rescued from trafficking, he learned one example of how they were led to see themselves.
On a table in the room, I see cracked glass tea cups. The woman who leads the home, Liv, tells us how these cups were an art project. In a recent class, the group talked about seeing beauty in the middle of brokenness. Each girl was given a glass tea cup and asked to break it by throwing it on the floor. The girls were hesitant at first, but one by one they threw their cups and watched them shatter into pieces. Then each girl was asked to glue her cup back together, piece by piece.
Next they placed a small candle inside each cup and lit it. The cracks in those broken cups actually allowed the light of the candles to shine brighter. That led to a discussion of how in our lives we might feel broken because of what we’ve done or what’s been done to us. But if we let him, God puts us back together and the light of his love shines brightly for others to see, even through our hurts.
There are many “ifs” in this scene.
- If they talked
- If they threw them down
- If they put them back together
- If they lit the candle
- If they let God
Beauty is hidden when we stay stuck in the ifs. The enemy loves our being stuck; our Redeemer longs to fully free us in order to shine through us. Are you stuck? Maybe it’s time to break a cup.
I’ve been thinking about repentance this week. Read a @youversion plan. Heard a sermon.
I can’t say I’ve ever really considered how I would define it personally. I’ve always leaned on others’ definitions, such as this one from the @youversion plan:
Repentance isn’t doing something about our sin; it is admitting that we can’t do anything about our sin.
I like that one. Certainly puts my mind in the right direction. Less about my ability and more about my need.
Here are a few definitions I’ve written this week:
- A repentant heart is a softened heart.
- A repentant heart has turned away from the dark and turned toward the light (Jesus said he was the light).
- Repentance is when I stop disagreeing with the truth (Jesus said he was the truth).
- Repentance is possible when the light finally comes on.
- Repentance begins when I accept my self-given excuses are lies.
This is a good exercise-defining repentance. Give it a try and see what it does to your heart and to your relational status with the truth and the light.
(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)
“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday.” Proverbs 4:18 HCSB
The imagery of the path’s light getting brighter and brighter as the morning progresses seems to go along with the truth that spiritual growth is a process.
The more you walk in righteousness the clearer choices/decisions seem to be.
The more you seek God the closer he seems to be.
At salvation, you come out of the darkness. Sure, it can seem quite bright at first. But walking the path of sanctification only brings more brilliance.
Walk On to the Midday!
There is a vast difference between being in something and actually being it. For example, being an American is vastly different from being in America. Ask anyone who’s gone through getting their citizenship.
So when Paul writes in Ephesians 5 that “…you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord,” he’s saying something rather significant. He didn’t say you were once in the dark and now you are in the light. He said you were dark and now you’re light. A vast difference. Being in the dark isn’t as dire as being dark; being in the light isn’t as powerful as being light.
Believers have been changed. They are now light. As believers, it seems we walk too often trying to be in something rather than actually being who we are through the new person our faith in the resurrected power of Jesus has created us to be. Yes, we are to walk in His light. But we are also to be light. Our lives can be much more than just being in the Light.
I am finding the more I take hold of this new identity the more I am light rather than just being in it. I am finding out more “what is acceptable to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10).